NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The newest update to the New International Version (NIV) Bible is now online, and scholars, pastors and everyday Christians are debating the changes to what has been the most popular modern English translation.
The NIV was first released in 1978 before being revised in 1984, and in September 2009 Biblica, Zondervan and the Committee on Bible Translation announced that another revised NIV was in the works. It won’t be available in print until 2011 but can be read online at BibleGateway.com.
The revision is being closely watched because Zondervan’s most recent major NIV revision, the TNIV, was controversial due to gender-neutral language. Although it had its fans, the TNIV never caught on in the evangelical community. The TNIV is being discontinued, as apparently is the older NIV.
The NIV 2010, as it is being called, maintains some of the TNIV language and some of the NIV language, and in some passages splits the difference. Whether that will be enough to please both sides remains to be seen. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood — one of the leading critics of the TNIV — is still evaluating the newest version and has not released a statement.
All three versions — the NIV 1984, the NIV 2010 and the TNIV — can be read at BibleGateway.com.
The Committee on Bible Translation, chaired by Douglas Moo, issued a lengthy statement explaining their translation strategy. (The full statement is available at http://www.niv-cbt.org/niv-2011-overview/translators-notes.)
“For this revision to the NIV, particular attention has been paid to external feedback in the area of gender language,” the committee stated. “As stated in the September 1, 2009, announcement regarding the planned update, every single change introduced into the committee’s last major revision (the TNIV) relating to inclusive language for humanity was reconsidered. Some were preserved, some were abolished in favor of the 1984 rendering and many were reworded in a third, still different way.”
The controversy involved gender-neutral language for people, and not inclusive language for God.
“This updated NIV builds on both the original NIV and the TNIV and represents the latest effort of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) to articulate God’s unchanging Word in the way the original authors might have said it if they had been speaking in English to the global English-speaking audience today,” the committee stated.
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist Press.